A cousin to the satyr, the faun is a humanoid forest creature with hooved legs resembling those of a deer. They are highly attuned to nature and are rarely seen due to their secluded homes.
Fauns are most associated with nature, and are generally benign figures in any legends. Any more aggressive behavior has usually been attributed to their cousins the satyrs, who have a less gentle reputation. Fauns are often seen at revelries held deep in the woods, and are depicted as friendly and cheerful hosts if encountered.
Traits and Behavior
Fauns have a humanoid torso and furred, hooved legs closely resembling those of a deer. They are primarily brown, both their fur and skin, and frequently have dark freckles or moles on their skin. Both genders will grow antlers in adulthood; males lose theirs and regrow them in the spring, females lose theirs in spring and regrow them in late summer. As children, fauns have spots on their lower half that sometimes travel onto their skin as birthmarks. These will fade into adulthood. Their hair is also usually brown, but has been known to take green tones with age. Their eyes are usually green or brown, but other shades can occur.
Fauns prefer to set up small, minimal settlements deep into the forests, as far from civilization as they can. Their homes and buildings are simple, using only what materials were already available, never cutting down any trees foliage. Often their settlements will be partially within natural caves or against cliffsides for protection from the elements. They are fond of running and dancing in the rain, but prefer to sleep with some cover. Fauns that live in more northern areas tend to have strong tolerance for the cold, and grow shaggier fur and long thick hair.
Fauns bond in couples in a way similar to marriage, but are far less strict about genders and number of partners. While most choose to have a settled partner or more before having children, not all do. Children, or kids, are raised primarily by their parents and their partners, but may be watched over by other members of their community as well. They will have spots on their legs and lower torso until the age of 7-9, at which point they will begin growing their antlers, lose their spots and begin puberty. They are not considered adults until the age of 20. A faun will likely stay within their community for life, unless they form a romantic partnership with someone from another group and choose to move.
Fauns are herbivores by choice; they can digest meat, but prefer not to do so and will not kill unless absolutely desperate. More often, they may scavenge from another species’ kill. They do not farm, and instead roam through the forests they call home for fruit and vegetation, and may travel for days to gather different foodstuffs to store for the year. They will eat unfertilized eggs and may raise birds for that purpose, but are lactose-intolerant after the age of three and cannot digest milk. Many fauns will gather honey, but will not directly keep hives, and will only take honey if they do not harm any bees while gathering it. Some groups will trade dried herbs and flowers for non-local foods with other species, or even their own crafts, but due to their secluded homes they do not like to rely on anyone that doesn’t live in the area, as depending on travelers is risky.
They are fond of handmade crafts but are very particular that anything made had to be materials already dead, with exceptions made for leaves or flowers that were safely removed without harming the plant. Jewelry and decorations made from wood, stone or bone are common. A faun can tell if anything was intentionally killed instead of found already deceased; if they find anything intentionally killed for any reason (discluding self defense), they will hold a small funeral ceremony for the deceased. Any time they themselves use a material, they will give a thanks to the tree, plant or animal that provided it. The length of this can vary depending on the amount taken, and for what purpose.
Fauns can live up to 500 years, and will develop larger and more elaborate antlers as they age. Their communities are typically led by a group of elders of any gender. As their community size will vary depending on available resources, the number of elders will also vary depending on population. If at any point a community becomes too large for the area, one or several elders will volunteer to lead a group to create a new one, traveling until they find another site to settle in.
Fauns are fast, with speeds of over 30 miles per hour tracked at times, and because of their coloring are talented at hiding and moving through the woods without detection. They are also talented climbers, even on sheer cliff faces, though they prefer the woods to mountains. If threatened, they will usually flee, depending on their knowledge of the woods and speed to get out of danger. They can use their antlers and hooves to defend themselves if necessary, but prefer not to harm others unless forced to. They rarely if ever carry weapons, and if a tool is ever used for violence it is later disposed of.
While fauns have a high tolerance for temperature changes, they are easily injured and take slightly longer than most species to heal. This is partially why they have a reputation for being delicate, though it is frequently over-exaggerated. Fauns will care for their injured neighbors and family very carefully, and may even call in fauns from other communities for help.
Fauns rarely live with other species; the one exception being satyrs. If a faun is less inclined to remain vegetarian or stay secluded, they will find a satyr community to live in instead; the species are closely related enough to have children together, and it is common to find mixed species couples and children in both communities. Satyrs may move into a faun community if they are coupled with a faun, and will also live by the community rules of vegetarianism and not harming any living things. Any members of the community to break these rules are required to leave.
Fauns are not especially magically powerful, and cannot directly cast magic. A group of fauns in an area will likely make the place stronger and healthier, but this is a passive effect and will occur regardless of if the fauns intended it to or not. They often live near dryad groves, and both groups consider the other good neighbors and will protect the other. Neither group considers the other as living in their community, regardless of how close they may, completely coincidentally, live. Because of their affinity for nature, other species may also be found near faun settlements, but because they prefer solitude, they will avoid most other species and may even move if an area becomes too busy.
There are stories of humans hunting down fauns either due to their nature affinities or due to their perceived weaknesses. Thankfully, few of these stories are actually true, but it has been known to happen. Fauns will run when threatened, but will not abandon each other, so they set up elaborate escape paths and tunnels around their homes to flee to if the settlement is threatened. Some communities will connect to others as backup homes, but most escape paths will lead into wilder and less hospitable locations.
Fauns do not bury their dead; they are left to rest on the ground some distance from their home, covered in leaves, branches and moss. Fauns rarely visit gravesites, and rarely leave two bodies in the same area unless they died together or were romantically involved. They prefer to give the body to nature, in whatever way nature intends to use it. Any belongings the deceased faun has will be shared amongst the community, with family having first pick.
Fauns are not particularly hardy, therefore a broken leg would be all that was needed to escape if you had to do so. A faun living with satyrs will possibly carry weapons from their new herd, but most will flee whenever possible and are not a threat. As they do not have any ability to cast magic, their strength lies in their abilities in climbing, running and hiding.
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